We are near the halfway point of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.

But the evidence indicates that Floridians are only now approaching the point of greatest risk.

As the Florida Climate Center at Florida State University notes on its website, “The peak of hurricane season occurs between mid-August and late October, when the waters in the equatorial Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico have warmed enough to help support the development of tropical waves.”

An analysis of the Atlantic hurricane database reveals that 29 of the 36 Category 3 storms to rock Florida since 1851 occurred during September or October.

The National Hurricane Center reports that 52 of the 81 major hurricanes that formed in the Atlantic between 1981 and 2010 also developed during September and October.

September is National Preparedness Month, which means now is the time to remind Marion County residents of the need to be ready.

This year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has made the theme of this month “A Lasting Legacy.” As the DHS notes on its website, “The life you’ve built is worth protecting. Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family.”

One way to protect that legacy is to prepare for a major-storm event, even though Marion County may not be in a direct path of a storm.

That includes ensuring you are signed up to receive emergency alerts, locating the nearest shelter if necessary or determining where else you may go, mapping out an evacuation route in case you are directed to leave our community, and assembling an emergency-preparedness kit for your family.

Helpful tips on completing each of these steps can be found at Ready.gov, FloridaDisaster.org, and AlertMarion.com. Information about preparedness and storm safety can also be found at DOH-Marion’s webpage, marion.florida health.gov.

Don’t let a failure to prepare be the “lasting legacy” you leave for your family.

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